First, draw a line in the sand

By CorrineB 12/07/17
Line in the sand CB.jpg

By Corrine Barraclough

Feeling overwhelmed is often one of the driver’s into addiction. Being, or certainly believing, you cannot process everything that’s screaming around in your own mind, you reach for a release.

To stand a chance at getting sober, and staying sober, it’s really important to draw a line. Then be mindful of what comes and goes. You need to find some self-compassion for all the water under the bridge. You do not have a time machine; you cannot change the past no matter how much you wish you could.

I’d never even heard the term “self-compassion” until I started researching in recovery. Often we’re incredibly good at feeling compassion towards others, but have no empathy towards ourselves. Many of us are our own harshest critics. Our self-proclaimed failures loop round and round in our minds and feelings of inadequacy can in themselves be overwhelming. These feelings, if left to take over, can also be a huge driver into isolation.

Part of step one, acknowledging you are powerless is, I believe, part of the rebirth of a second chance.
You have to believe you are worthy of a second chance, because you are. Truly and honestly believing that is part of step one.

Drawing a line in the sand will help you stay sober – and sane.

The past is done. You may well have moments that creep up on you and you cry your eyes out with regret. Guilt and remorse may prick at your skin like mosquito bites, but it is done.

You cannot hop back into your own script and edit out bits that make you uncomfortable. It is done, it is finished, it is over.

You can (and must) take full responsibility for your actions before you draw that line, but not drown in heavily critical self-talk. There is a balance to achieve.

Your past will overwhelm you, and threaten to drown you in addiction all over again, if you don’t cut yourself from that emotional rollercoaster.

Step aside from your emotions and allow them to come in, and head away again. They don’t stay. Your resilience to observing your emotions will build like a muscle the more you practise using it.

You can be aware of your negative thoughts, you don’t have to deny them. But don’t stuff them into a backpack with all the old stuff too. It’s too heavy. You cannot carry that. No one could.

To truly live just for today, that means drawing a line from the past. Keep an eye on the future but the dream is to achieve being happy right where you stand, right now.

Guilt, regret and remorse are not comfortable shoes to walk in. They do not walk a path forwards. Take them off.

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